Power 50 Notes
last updated: 07/29/2011

Time for an overdue Power 50 update, a lot has happened since the end of May, that's for sure, and much of it very positive. Jim here, your long-time Link Report buddy, with the honor of commenting this go-round. Here's why the Brewers' system in no way represents a supposedly worst-in-baseball designation. Check out the top seven. Six of thoise seven are in AA or AAA, and the one who isn't is close by and has many diehards very excited. That is some quality upper-level talent (perhaps that also speaks to the most recent draft classes and the skill set at the lower levels currently). We couldn't wait any longer for the 2011 top picks to sign, and nothing stirs up minor league message board talk like good PTBNL speculation, so please enjoy our latest take on the rankings and be sure to chime in over at the forum.    
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  Power 50
+/- Rank  Name  Level  Pos  Age 
 01 Peralta, Wily   A   SP 31 R R
  Peralta, a Power 50 # 1 a bit by default in our prior edition two months ago, has put an emphatic claim on the top spot with a more-than-dominant July (4-0, 0.66 ERA, only 23 hits and 13 walks in 41 IP). His extended run stretches back to June as well with fine numbers there. Size - check. Youthfulness - check. Repertoire - check. A deserving # 1? You bet.
 02 Thornburg, Tyler   MLB   CL 31 R R
  Thornburg has walked 20 in his most recent 32 innings at Brevard County, a cause for concern, but we have faith that Tyler and Manatee pitching coach Fred Dabney will correct that soon. Putting any 1-vs.-2 debate to rest, Thornburg is actually eight months older than Wily Peralta and Wily is already well past a major injury concern nexus (Tommy John).
7  03 Schafer, Logan   A   OF 33 L L
  Logan's AAA debut was certainly delayed by random frustrating injury bad luck, but he's made up for lost time with a fantastic Nashville arrival. Despite only 23 AB's in 2010, Schafer's only fanned 32 times in 264 AB's overall this year. Depending on Tony Plush's status to begin 2012, Schafer will be on hand as a true (and very attractive) CF option.
13  04 Green, Taylor   A   IF 33 L R
  Let's see, how do you follow up a 1.108 OPS in June? How about with a 1.133 OPS in July! Yes, there's a reason Green has lit up not only his stat line, but message boards, email inboxes, and the twitterverse. Suddenly that 2007 Brewer Minor League Player of the Year Award in West Virginia doesn't seem that long ago. Well done, sir.
 05 Scarpetta, Cody   A   SP 31 R R
  Scarpetta seems to mix in a real clunker for every three-to-four decent outings, but that's still a respectable ratio. He's had a more than serviceable season to date, just with few "wow" moments. A bit scary to think what might be the case if his 4th option year isn't granted by MLB this offseason.
1  06 Heckathorn, Kyle   A   MR 31 R R
  Steady as he goes for Heckathorn, as his introduction to AA (four starts) has been effectively uneventful. (NOTE: Ugly 5th AA start just as we went live with this P50). It's apparent the "K" in Kyle isn't for strikeout, but he seems so projectable otherwise that an eventual path to a big league rotation opportunity can't be dismissed easily.
1  07 Gindl, Caleb   A   OF 31 L L
  Just a wonderful AAA indoctrination for Gindl in 2011, because he's improving each and every month. And when he gets a hold of one, it goes a long way, as several of our video links have attested this summer. The top three bats in the P50 are LH -- you mix in Mat Gamel's non-P50 eligible swing, and the Brewers should be able to present better balanced lineups in the future should the opportunity present itself.
1  08 Bucci, Nick   A   SP 29 R R
  Bucci has gone exactly seven innings in five of his last seven starts, and it's been eight starts since he surrenderd more than three earned runs. Bucci just turned 21 in July, and Brewers' staff seem to thrill at his coachability, meaning there's no reason to think the prospect path should dip for this Canadian any time soon.
new  09 Gagnon, Drew   MLB   MR 29 R R
  The highest Brewer draft pick to sign as of August 1st, 3rd rounder Gagnon will have to build on his offspeed comand before garnering a higher Power 50 perch. He's fanned 16 in his 11.2 inning indoctrination into pro ball. Just turned 21 in June, so still young for a three-year college pick.
6  10 Richardson, D'Vontrey   A   OF 31 R R
  Richardson is like the brand-new Play-Doh you get for Christmas that is still pliable and soft to the touch, capable of amazing creations. In other words, your little sister hasn't come along and left the cover off of it for a week and air-dried it to ruin. We're guessing Richardson will eventually be molded into a pretty special piece of art, although for now it's quite abstract. (Hey, not every entry here is going to be a statistical analysis...)
5  11 Gennett, Scooter   MLB   2B 30 L R
  A nice June and July after a truly unsightly May can have Scooter feeling OK about his high-A season. But when you're only walking once every 20 AB's, you're only 8-for-15 on the basepaths, you're filling the error column, and you don't play shortstop, you're not a dynamic middle infield prospect. And that drops you out of the P50 Top 10, even if just barely. Prove us wrong, Scooter.
1  12 Davis, Khris   MLB   OF 32 R R
  It's been a tough first week at Huntsville for Kh., but that .948 Brevard OPS should translate to AA nicely. Always in demand, power-hitting outfielders were moved at the trade deadline, so there's value here regardless of whether Miller Park is a first big league destination.
9  13 Rivas, Amaury   A   SP 34 R R
  It's really been an uninspiring AAA campaign for Rivas, just one five-inning ho-hum start after another sprinkled with only the very occasional eye-catching effort. None of the peripherals inspire, and his ground ball rate is way down in 2011. For a non-strikeout arm, that's not a good development. A deserved fall from near the P50 pinnacle, unfortunately.
33  14 Manzanillo, Santo   A   MR 31 R R
  As uninspiring as Amaury Rivas has been, we follow up with a tale of perseverence for the ages. Have we all committed Manzanillo's 47 walks in 16.1 IP in 2006 to memory by now? Santo is off to a sweet start with Huntsville and he and his 100-MPH heat and killer slider are lead-pipe locks for 40-man roster status after this season. All this after Tommy John surgery saw him miss all of 2009.
22  15 Rivera, Yadiel   A   IF 28 R R
  Work-in-progress doesn't begin to define 19-year-old Rivera (see 12 BB's and 88 K's in 280 AB's this year), but a current .840 OPS at Helena points to his extraordinary potential. Could be a wild ride along the prospect trail, though...
4  16 Davis, Kentrail   A   OF 31 L R
  30-for-36 is a successful stolen base line, but did we all think that would be Ke.'s positive statistical focus for us at this point in his development? Davis has expressed some frustration with his performance in printed reports. To be honest, and it's hard to word this politely, but Kentrail is lulling us to indifference.
2  17 Morris, Hunter   MLB   1B 31 L R
  Yes, the dude is strong, but strong dudes need to let balls outside the zone go past once in a while. Fifteen walks in 394 AB's is just unacceptable, no matter how many XBH's are produced. Bases on balls aren't influenced by the FSL atmosphere.
4  18 Kintzler, Brandon   A   MR 35 R R
  Kintzler just had a screw inserted in his forearm to repair a stress fracture, and is hopeful to see action before season's end, but that seems ambitious.
10  19 Fiers, Mike   MLB   SP 34 R R
  Fiers is fanning just over a man per IP while allowing only 58 hits and 25 walks in 81.1 AAA / AA frames. At some point, you simply have to forget he was drafted just as he turned 24 and say, "yes, that is a potentially useful future arm on a Brewer staff".
new  20 Arcia, Orlando   MLB   SS 25 R R
  The Brewers have had a disproportionally high number of their better-performing Latin prospects hail from Venezuela, and Arcia is one of the new additions to that list. Arcia turns 17 years old this week -- 20 of his 50 DSL hits are for extra bases, he walks at a high rate (and more often than he fans), he steals bases, and his 20-year-old brother Oswaldo is cutting a nice career path, currently at high-A in the Twins system, so this isn't a Ryan Braun - Steve Braun thing. Let the trumpets blare!
13  21 De La Cruz, Frankie   A   SP 36 R R
  Thank you, sir, for adopting "Frankie" as your name instead of the given "Eulogio", because FDLC is just way cooler than EDLC. Some have hinted the flame-throwing De La Cruz may find room in a September Brewer bullpen, but it could be a tight fit there. If he's not added to the 40-man this offseason, FDLC will find no shortage of suitors in the minor league free agent market.
9  22 Rogers, Mark   A   SP 34 R R
  Currently in Brevard trying to work through carpal tunnel issues sans-surgery, we can only imagine what thoughts are in Mark's head at this time. Out of options entering 2012, we don't even know what our own thoughts are about Rogers' decidedly murky Brewer future.
2  23 Nelson, Jimmy   A   SP 30 R R
  The 2010 2nd rounder, Nelson made progress in July, with a much higher K rate and much lower walk rate than he had posted previously. This success also came with a higher fly ball rate, which in the long run, may not be a great thing. Look, he's healthy, seems to be taking to instruction well (thank you to all the Appleton locals for the great Timber Rattlers coverage), and remains on the radar. Sometimes you wonder if the big bonus-baby draft picks would trade a portion of their windfall for a less discerning eye from the minor league diehard fans.
6  24 McClendon, Mike   A   MR 35 R R
  "Meet the Mets, Meet the Mets, Step right up and greet the Mets!" OK, if you've never heard a Met broadcast, you won't recognize the lyrics, but some indicators place McClendon on the infamous K-Rod PTBNL list. We think Mike's quick-pitch effectiveness has a place in a September Brewer bullpen, but most would feel McClendon as part of that trade package would be fair.
2  25 Maldonado, Martin   MLB   C 33 R R
  Maldonado is back in Nashville, and becuase he's on the 40-man roster, is a good bet to be in Milwaukee to serve as the 3rd catcher in September. Oft-forgotten factoid: Maldonado is not an original Brewer; drafted out of a Puerto Rico high school in 2004 by the Angels, the Brewers scooped him up quickly after his release in January 2007. That's quality scouting at the very low levels of pro ball, reminiscent of the identification of Carlos Villanueva when he was an Arizona League prospect in the Giants' system.
new  26 Ramirez, Nick   A   MR 30 L L
  Ramirez, the Crew's 4th round pick this past June, just blasted his first Midwest League home run after toying with Pioneer League rookie hurlers. The seemless power transition to a wood bat is fantastic to see, but Power 50 members who eschew the base on balls will continue to face some scorn from the editors -- just three walks in 128 AB's thus far.
2  27 Roberts, Tyler   A   C 29 L R
  Still just 20 years old, and apparently settling in at an age-appropriate level with Helena right now after a less then sterling Timber Rattler stint. Unlike back in the Lou Palmisano days, any anxiousness and frustration on catcher development delays is tempered for fans significantly by Jonathan Lucroy's presence in Milwaukee.
15  28 Meadows, Daniel   A   MR 32 L L
  The 49th(!) round draft pick in 2007 has continued a sweet climb up the ladder all the way to AAA. In a very small sample at that level, Meadows, with his non loogy-like 6'6", 223 lb. build, isn't handling lefty bats very well, though he remains a more-than-interesting name, particularly for April 2012.
21  29 Ozuna, Ruben   A   OF 28 L L
  A groin injury hampered Ozuna during a Helena visit, and now our 2010 DSL Brewer MVP is back in Maryvale. We remain intrigued, as should you.
new  30 Walla, Max   A   MR 29 L L
  Upon being drafted in June 2009, Walla landed at # 17 in his initial Power 50. So it's a nice welcome back after sliding off the list in June of last year. An .822 OPS in the super-offensive Pioneer League is not exceptional, but Max is definitely back on the radar screen.
5  31 Merklinger, Dan   A   SP 34 L L
  Merklinger's last three Huntsville starts have been exceptional, not just very good, but exceptional. Will the Brewers re-add him to what should be a very tight 40-man this offseason to protect him from Rule 5? If this current streak extends significantly, the answer's yes.
4  32 Hall, Brooks   A   MR 29 R R
  After striking out only 37 in 62.2 innings to begin his Timber Rattler season, Hall inexplicably fanned ten in six innings his last time out. Gotta love baseball. Anyway, another in the low ground ball, low K camp, a tough camp to hike to the big leagues from.
13  33 Farris, Eric   A   2B 34 R R
  Welcome to the Baseball Encyclopedia, Eric Farris! Remember the tight 40-man roster crunch we alluded to earlier? Without his 2009 70-SB Manatee speed, Farris' offseason spot looks tentative.
7  34 Zarraga, Shawn   MLB   C 31 S R
  Spending a 2nd full season in the relative anonymity of the FSL has us unsure of the barrel-chested Zarraga's present, never mind his future. We'd be all over a trade for Athletics' DSL LF Jonesy Zarraga -- his numbers are terrible, but oh, the name...
5  35 Walker, Mike   A   3B 31 L R
  Walker's production has only deviated downward ever-so-slightly from his super hot start. Kudos to him -- no matter how you analyze it, Mike's had the definition of a solid, steady, satisfying season (the alliteration entry for this P50 edition).
5  36 Garfield, Cameron   A   C 29 R R
  A dislocated knee is the latest injury for Garfield, who has only managed 53 AB's in what appears to be a lost season. He'll still only be 20 when full season ball opens next year, but his prospect status is dimming. Plenty of time to recapture, though...
new  37 Williams, Alan   A   MR 30 L L
  OK, here's a 21-year-old 6'3" LHP that throws gas, and he's struck out 36 in his first 18.2 professional innings. No story's better than an indy league kid signing his first affiliated contract and having immediate success. Williams was drafted (twice) by the Marlins in prior years but spurned their offers to play community college ball in Mississippi.
3  38 Dennis, Chris   A   OF 31 L R
  Chris' second try at Brevard County isn't going much better than his truncated earlier go-round. Needless to say, the pressure's building to avoid what has the makings of a real career roadblock.
new  39 Paciorek, Joey   A   C 31 R R
  In a very cool development, the 5th-year farmhand donned the tools of ignorance in spring training, and Brewer management was wise enough to say that this was going to be a full-time gig. The bat is playing well since his Wisconsin re-arrival, and this experiment has some real traction.
16  40 Wheeler, Zelous   MLB   IF 33 R R
  You have to wonder if Wheeler's knee injury that sidelined him for six weeks early on is affecting his play now back at Huntsville. Zelous' biggest contribution this season was allowing Taylor Green to have his monster season in Nashville.
8  41 Miller, Matt   A   SP 31 R R
  Miller's another pitcher who is doing enough to easily maintain his rotation spot -- he's shown some length (no pun intended for the 6'6" Matt), but like others, it's a plodding march of mediocre-to-OK, which reminds us all just how rare the true shooting stars in any system are. This ain't easy, what these kids do.
 42 Perez, Osmel   A   RHP 26 R R
  The (yes, Venezuelan) RHP just turned 18 years old this past week, but has made only one appearance since June 29th. There are intriguing DSL arms ready to jump in to this spot if need be. It's been a very promising summer for the academy's pitchers, with several showing a surprisingly high level of polish.
5  43 Wooten, Rob   A   MR 34 R R
  We'll look for a return to more dominant form in 2012 for Rob -- that'll be his second year back from Tommy John surgery.
new  44 Dillard, Tim   A   MR 36 R R
  Dillard is certainly the 12th (and almost invisible) man in the current Brewer pen, but the personable impressionist should be commended for his willingness to adapt his delivery, and deserves his current rewards.
13  45 Halton, Sean   A   OF 32 R R
  A mountain of a man, listed at 6'5", 265 at season's beginning, Halton managed a .353 OBP in an otherwise sluggish July. Five of six thus far in SB attempts -- we'd pay to see some of those. Halton should be in line for the AAA first base job in 2012 in his age 25 season, nothing wrong with that progression.
31  46 Ross, Austin   A   MR 31 R R
  "Free Austin Ross!" Oh wait, those calls came while he was uber-efficient and effective early on in Wisconsin. How does a supposedly refined pitcher from LSU go from superlative peripherals in the cold of an Appleton "spring" to just disastrous results in seven starts in the FSL heat? Turn on the A/C, Austin!
3  47 Arnett, Eric   A   MR 32 R R
  Yes, it's a salvage mission, and a major one at that. A 45-to-7 K-to-BB ratio in 46 Helena innings with lots of ground ball outs is something to build on -- allowing 58 hits in those 46 innings is a reminder that the corner isn't quite turned.
7  48 Rosario, Adrian   MLB   MR 30 R R
  It appears that the wiry Rosario is destined to be more effective in small bites, as his poor starting efforts as a Sea Cow brought him back to the Rattlers, where he's been very sharp. Still just 21 years old, the Orioles may have been about three years ahead of the Rule 5 curve.
new  49 Nieves, Efrain   A   SP 30 L L
  Once as high as # 20 on the P50 (April of '09), Nieves is holding LH bats to a .197 in a system that has dried up on loogy development in recent seasons. His most recent outing blew up his overall numbers, as can happen to short-inning men. Another in the "been around forever, still young" camp.
new  50 Mittelstaedt, T.J.   A   OF 32 L R
  The trade of Erik Komatsu opened up a Power 50 spot for T.J., and deservedly so. Compare the slash lines for Taylor Green's 2007 Brewer Organizational Player of the Year season and Mittelstaedt's this year at the same level. The only difference is that Green was three years younger -- otherwise they're the same player: unheralded out-of-nowhere late round pick, position flexibility. (Oh, and T.J. can run, while Green, uh, can't.) Anyway, congrats, T.J., you rock!

Players removed this week: Jordan Brown... Cody Hawn... Lee Haydel... Justin James... Brendan Katin... Erik Komatsu... Andre Lamontagne... Maverick Lasker... Stosh Wawrzasek...